Shallot sets get planted every year in our vegetable garden. They fall into the allium category on our crop rotation plan together with onions and garlic that we grow.
Shallots can be planted at any time from the shortest day to early April providing the ground isn’t waterlogged and the temperature is above 7°C so they can get their roots down. Whilst I find garlic tends to grow better after having frost on it, I haven’t noticed the same with shallots, so I normally plant mine around Easter time unless it’s really wet or really cold.
For beginners starting out with a modest plot, I always suggest planting some shallots from sets. Onion sets tend to come in bags of 50 and have a longer growing period so if you have a relatively small vegetable bed, you can’t plant all of them or they take up too much space.
Shallots on the other soon get their roots down and hand have a faster growing period than onions. They normally come as 6, sometimes 12 in a bag so are much better suited to growing in a small space.
Besides, personally, I think shallots have a better taste and a mild flavour, far better than many of the onions I have grown, which is why I grow them as well as onions.
Other than rotavating the soil in the spring and raking it over, I don’t do a lot else before planting my shallots. I do add a small amount of blood, fish and bone. I hoe between the rows on dry days to remove weeds (not too close to the bulbs or you risk damaging the roots).
Shallots store well. They usually last us for 8 months but some of the people at our local gardeners’ club store theirs for a whole year with care. To store this long, they do need a cool, dark place or they will soon sprout in the spring.
For further information and tips, you can read my guide to growing shallots here.